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Staatssekretär Prof. Dr. Ingolf V. Hertel : Opening of the EU proactive
initiatives (IST / FET) information day
Quantum Information Processing and Communication Nanotechnology Information Devices, 12.3.1999; BBAW, Berlin
Mr. Chairman, Monsieur Bensasson, dear Colleagues, Ladies and Gentlemen,
it is a great pleasure for me to open this very special workshop. Bearing
responsibility for science and research in the State of Berlin I am
pleased to welcome you here in our just emerging New Berlin - a city
with many qualities of which its particularly high density of scientists,
its excellent establishments of tertiary education and its many research
institutes are the most important ones for the upcoming knowledge society.
You have chosen a particularly nice spot of the city for your workshop,
this building being located at Berlins probably most beautiful city-square.
If you find a few minutes during lunch time you may get a good impression
of the historic Berlin and its architecture within walking distance.
The Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Science was originally founded by
Leibniz nearly 200 years ago and was reborn after the fall of the Berlin
As a scientist I am particularly pleased to witness that the European Union appears to be determined to provide in this field significant financial support for far reaching, long term goals in forefront research. The official announcement for the FET program reads good: "In order to ensure the emergence of new ideas and new research activities for tomorrow, it is recognised that there is a need to balance the key actions with a more visionary and exploratory perspective. This is the purpose of Future and Emerging Technologies".
As a physicist I also find it very auspicious that almost exactly 100 years ago, during the spring of 1899 Max Planck, then Professor of Physics at the University of Berlin "Unter den Linden", discovered h, the quantum of action and thus opened the door to quantum physics. However, unlike many other revolutions in science, which have led to industrial revolutions relatively soon, at least still during the life time of the primary key researchers - think for example of the discoveries by Hertz in Karlsruhe, Maxwell in Cambridge or Kirchhoff, Planck's predecessor here at Berlin - the technological applications of quantum physics have not developed at the same pace as the progress in the corresponding basic research.
This probabaly has to be attributed not only to the difficulty and high costs of experiments. It is certainly also owing to the sometimes counterintuitive effects of quantum physics. The most important and least understood of these being "Verschränkung" (entanglement), a term coined by Schrödinger with quite some doubt cast on it by Einstein, Podolsky, and Rosen. Interestingly enough, this very quantum phenomenon "entanglement" is the central physical principle on which the concepts of quantum cryptography, quantum communication and quantum computing are based.
Immediate technical applications are still some distance away from today, but they appear to become within reach - if funding has a long breath. I have been told that in August 1994 about 100 scientists were gathering at Gaithersburg (Maryland) on invitation by NIST and other American funding agencies to discuss the perspectives for an U.S. R&D-programme in these areas. Only very few Europeans where in that group, amongst them only two Germans, Thomas Beth from Karlsruhe and Günter Mahler from Stuttgart.
Thus I am glad to see that these two colleagues have convened here today such a large European audience to discuss potential research programmes in this field within the Fifth Framework Programme of the European Union. With this kind of determination I trust that Europe can play a major role in the international thrive for making the world of quantum physics and nanosystems accessible for engineering, data processing and computing tasks.
Scientists from Berlin certainly want to contribute their part to this challenging quest. And with the difficult financial situation which Berlin has to face after the Fall of the Wall it is all the more important for us to attract resources from the EU. We are grateful to you Monsieur Bensasson that you will explain some the intricacies and secrets when applying for these funds, hopefully with success. One of the major strongholds of scientific research in Berlin is the area of Information and Communication technologies. In these fields our scientist certainly belong to Europe's leading high-tech community, with a strong focus in the science and technology center Berlin-Adlershof, which you may want to see if you stay here for a few more days. There, for instance, the institute FIRST of the GMD (Helmholtz- Zentrum für Rechentechnik), the high brilliance synchrotron radiation source BESSY II and the Max-Born Institute for nonlinear optics and short pulse spectroscopy provide an ideal ground for interdisciplinary, cooperative research between informatics and physics.
It is my pleasure to note that the interest in this type of interaction and communication has brought you together here at our academy, a platform where Max Planck has opened and chaired the sessions for a quarter of this century. I wish all of you that today's meeting will be the start into an exciting new century of research and development!
Prof. Dr. Ingolf Hertel, e-Mail: Hertel@mbi-berlin.de
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